DuckDuckGoDuckDuckGo

  • DuckDuckGo is a privacy-focused competitor to Google Search that doesn’t collect or share your search history or clicks. 
  • I switched to DuckDuckGo for one week, and learned to appreciate some aspects like fewer advertisements, comparable search results, and an easy-to-navigate settings page. 
  • I did miss Google’s layout — especially the “Top Stories” thumbnails that appear at the top of the search results page— and I often wondered if I was actually getting the best possible results with DuckDuckGo. 
  • Ultimately, I didn’t find the privacy features of DuckDuckGo compelling enough to permanently make the switch from Google.

Back in the day, there were options when it came to search.

Choosing between AOL, Yahoo, or Alta Vista kind of just depended on your mood that day. And then came Google, and a clear search engine king was crowned. 

The ubiquity of Google search today is astounding. In September, Google powered over 86% of desktop searches worldwide, according to Statista. 

However, with personal privacy becoming more of a concern — especially the Google+ fiasco that led the company to shut down its less-than-beloved social network — perhaps search is headed for a shakeup. 

If any privacy-focused search engine is going to rival Google Search, it might be DuckDuckGo. With 800 million monthly direct queries in September, the search engine named after the children’s game appears to be gaining some real traction. In fact, it’s a profitable business.

Beyond not tracking my every move (DuckDuckGo doesn’t collect or share your search history or clicks), there were some other aspects I learned to appreciate like less advertisements, comparable search results and an easy-to-navigate settings page that allowed me to freely switch between themes.

I tested DuckDuckGo for one week, completely locking myself out of Google search to see if I could survive on this more privacy-focused alternative.

Here’s what I found.